Welcome to The Hype, FABRIC8’s monthly round-up of the latest CRO and digital marketing news.

Each month, we'll look at what’s been happening in the industry and ask, ‘is it really worth the hype?’

That way, you get to learn all about the super-important stuff, and find out if new fads really are all they’re cracked up to be.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's dig in to October’s digital marketing trends:

Watch out for the butterfly effect!

Econsultancy recently released a blog claiming that the butterfly effect is “killing the conversion optimisation industry”. As CRO buffs, our ears pricked up and we thought this statement could do with a quick reality check.

Anyone who’s watched a time-travel movie will know about the butterfly effect. Remember, Marty McFly stops George from being hit by a car and almost wipes out his entire family?

Just in case you haven’t seen that (epic) film, here’s a quick recap:

The butterfly effect: by changing one small thing in the past (e.g. killing a butterfly), you will bring about a massive change in the future (e.g. WWIII will commence)

So, how does this relate to CRO?

Well, the answer is it doesn’t … but we can see the point the writer was trying to make here.

Conversion optimisation is misunderstood and underappreciated. Those fundamental flaws at the start of a process mean the end results are also flawed, have little impact and aren’t in line with a business’ ambitions for growth.

Really, it’s more of a self-perpetuating cycle, but get this; if you fix the beginning by educating everyone about CRO so they understand its true power, you’ll get better end results! Hurray!

So, no need to hop in a DeLorean and reach 88mph, just start brushing up on your CRO knowledge and convince others to do the same. Once you understand the ins and outs, you can be sure the results you'll get will be accurate and actionable, and you won’t harm any butterflies in the process!

Consultancies are coming – should agencies run for the hills?

There’s been a huge shift in the past few years. Consultancies are coming to town and laying down roots by swallowing up creative agencies. Consultancy firm, Accenture, is just one example of this.

To understand how this has happened, we need to look at the history of consultancy.

James McKinsey is said to have invented consulting in 1920. He saw it as ‘applying measurement to make management more efficient’. It then progressed to a problem-solving enterprise; consultants identified problems and told businesses how to fix them.

So, why are consultancies now snapping up agencies? Well, identifying problems is no longer enough, there needs to be a means of implementing the solutions too!

We don’t think it’s a coincidence that consultancies are bringing in agencies just as marketing becomes more measurable. They’re covering their own backs – you cannot attribute consultancy success, but you can calculate a clear marketing ROI!

However, these large consultancy firms will not wholly integrate with agencies (at least, not if they’re smart)! Why?

  • Consultancies pay their people more than agencies, so it wouldn’t make sense to bring a load more people in. It might even end up costing them money.
  • Consultancies charge a lot more than agencies.

Basically, consultancies will want the benefits of having an agency, without the accompanying price tag. Obviously fair, right?

So, what should you do next? The Econsultancy blog we mentioned suggests either selling out to a consultancy, or working closely with one. We think this could be more trouble than it’s worth – though a little collaboration probably wouldn’t hurt.

Why not start consulting as part of your business strategy? Put those years of experience to good use and cut out the middle man!

“Only 6% of companies are frequently running highly complex tests to improve conversion rates”

Did you notice our subtle use of quotation marks? If you did, you may have twigged that we’re not exactly buying this scare-mongering title.

This stat comes from research recently published by Econsultancy and RedEye. The research claims that while businesses have basic testing in place, complex tests are not yet mainstream:

  • 6% frequently carry out highly complex tests
  • 45% frequently carry out simple tests

We think that Econsultancy and RedEye need to chill out a bit … things are not as bad as they might seem!

Yes, the number of companies frequently running tests could be higher. After all, 83% who run tests frequently have seen a huge improvement in conversion rates – so it would seem foolish not to!

But, the rest of the report is pretty much what we’d expect. People are still getting to grips with testing software and CRO, so it’s no surprise they’re not using more complex tests yet. They wouldn’t understand them, or know how to implement them in the first place.

Also, complex multivariate tests aren’t always that helpful. You can’t attribute the success of a test to one element that affected the KPI. So really, you don’t learn much. If you’re going to carry out a complex test, it’s probably best to seek expert help.

Don’t worry if you’re not conducting lots of complex tests at present. Move at a test frequency that suits your business and gives you plenty of time to gather data, analyse it and implement changes.

You can build up to a higher test frequency and to carrying out more complex tests gradually, but remember – you can always ask for help if you need it.

Nanigans launches incrementality optimisation and reporting solution

OK, that’s a bit of a mouthful … so let’s break it down.

For those of you who aren't in the know, Nanigans is a cross-channel SaaS platform for large-scale performance advertisers.

It recently launched a new solution that uses machine learning to adjust pages bit by bit, to reflect a user’s latest interactions and purchases. This is called incremental optimisation.

It also issues reports in real time, but here’s a little more about how it works:

  • It predicts revenue lift from an impression (aka a user).
  • It makes an ad bid based on that prediction (in real time).
  • It learns from previous encounters to decide which ad would be appropriate.

This new software supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and programmatic re-targeting campaigns. So, it’s great if you’re focusing on social media, but not so good if you want a holistic look at all of your advertising efforts.

We’ve got to admit it’s a huge step forward from multitouch attribution. This method often confuses correlation with causality, as it gives credit to impressions or clicks when the user would have purchased organically anyway!

The new tech from Nanigans probably needs a little fine-tuning, but we’re going to keep an eye on it just in case. It could certainly come in useful for publishers and digital advertisers in the future!

So that’s it – a quick round-up of the latest news in CRO and digital marketing. Check in with us next month to find out what the hype is then!